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WEST, Kenneth Ernest

April 16, 1946- Calgary, AB
November 17, 2013 – Bragg Creek, AB

Suddenly but peacefully, Ken West, our much-loved husband, father and friend, resident for 30 years of Bragg Creek, left us on Sunday, November 17, 2013 after a challenging four and a half years of throat cancer treatments. He slipped away quietly in his own bed, in his own home, with his wife Sandy, by his side and his two sons, Aaron and Graeme, nearby. The son of Lt. Col. J.G. West and Dr. Margaret West, both deceased, he leaves behind him Sandy, his best friend and companion of 46 years, his two sons Aaron (Jacqueline) and Graeme (Danni), four dear grandchildren, Lucas, Erika, Madeline and Lauren; sister Marilyn (Len) and family, brother Ian (Anna) of Nova Scotia, brother-in-law John Watt (Lindsay) in Scotland and many friends across Canada and in the UK .

Ken was a big man in all sorts of ways and lived a good life, full to the brim with fun, laughter, delight and an insatiable curiosity especially about ideas. His family and friends mourn his absence but are so thankful that they knew this passionate and compassionate man. Ken had both an eye for the far horizons that let him spot a bull moose on a hillside miles away and yet also allowed him miraculously to see the first tiny wild strawberry growing under leaves on a bank of dense grasses. He delighted especially in Nature, large and small, in his horses and dogs, and in the company of family and friends. With a keen sense of humour and a penchant for outrageous story-telling and equally outrageous debate, he enjoyed the role of “mein host” and presided over many a wild and wonderful dinner table conversation in his Bragg Creek home.

Ken was born in Calgary and was raised an army brat, living in several Canadian postings and for three exciting years in London, UK .He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Math and Physics from Dalhousie University in 1967, and a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Alberta in 1971, in the special area of glaciology, under the wise and benevolent tutelage of Dr. Roy Krouse. Ken taught at UBC for a short time as an Instructor, after which he went to the oil patch and worked for Amoco Canada as an exploration geophysicist from 1974, with a special interest in off-shore exploration. He was designated a “Quiz Kid” and was sent to Chicago with his family for a year, thoroughly enjoying the city and the people he met. He returned to the Calgary office in 1981 and rose to become Chief Geophysicist until the Dome /Amoco merger, after which he went over to the newly-formed Crestar in 1991 and became the V.P of Explorations and the President of Crestar International. His years with Crestar, and especially with his work teams, were very special to Ken and he never forgot the people he was privileged to work with. Ken was a natural mentor and guardian of others and that helped him to be a great manager who truly cared for the people who worked for him.

Ken retired in 2000 and spent the next decade in his beloved outdoor activities such as golfing (minimally), hiking (majorly), skiing (expertly) and, most loved of all, horse riding (joyously) through the beautiful countryside round Bragg Creek, which was a Paradise to him. Sadly, in 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer but faced its many challenges very staunchly. He came to appreciate fully the work of the compassionate people at the Tom Baker Cancer Center, and was especially grateful for the care of the nurses in the medical chemo unit. Ken’s family wants to thank especially the oncologists Dr. Skarsgard, Dr. Webster, Dr. Hao and Dr. Nordel, and their assistant nurses, especially Camellia, Nancy and Patti, for their dedicated work. Warm thanks to our very special GP, Dr. Sandra Lahey of Cochrane, who regularly goes above and beyond the call as a physician.

A Celebration of Ken’s life will be held at The Cochrane Ranchehouse in the Chinook Room (101 Ranchehouse Road, Cochrane, AB T4C 2K8), on Friday, November 29, 2013 at 1:30p.m. If friends so desire, memorial tributes in Ken’s name may be made directly to the Cochrane Humane Society (S.P.C.A.), 62 Griffin Industrial Pointe, Cochrane, AB, T4C 0A3, the Alberta Cancer Foundation, c/o Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 1331 – 29 Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 4N2 Telephone: 1 (866) 412-4222 or to the Alberta SPCA at . Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Ken West, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Cochrane Funeral Home, 369 RAILWAY STREET, COCHRANE. Telephone: (403) 932-4740.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Maureen & Foster Jansen :

    Sandy & family, we are so very sorry for your loss. Foster enjoyed his Amoco & Crestar days with Ken. With you in heart and spirit at this sad and tender time.
    Foster & Maureen

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  2. Bruce and Pamela Rodger :

    Sandy,Aaron, Graeme, and all the critters that loved Ken. We were saddened to hear of Ken’s passing and are relieved he is through that horrible time. I have many wonderful memories of my visits to help with his beloved horses and dogs some of whom will be overjoyed to see him again. As you wrote, he was a big man with a big heart and he will be terribly missed.
    Bruce, Pamela, Keri, and Simon Rodger

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  3. Eric and Jane Keyser :

    Ken West

    I still remember Ken’s first day of work in the Oil Patch. We were in the old IBM building working the east coast. I started three years earlier and had an outside office. Ken got the crummy inside office. I had some maps that needed to be coloured by hand. Everyone was very busy but Ken grabbed a handful of coloured pencils and tissues and created art work out of our Grand Banks prospects.

    Within a year, I got to travel with Ken to Halifax, I met his parents and was blown away from the situation of the family home, on a lake surrounded by water except for a small causeway.

    I remember when Ken lived on the edge of Calgary way up north. Ken and I were out at an industry event and we stayed till the end. The next day Ken tells me Sandy had no sympathy and made him walk all the way home, he had missed the last bus.

    Next time I visit Ken and Sandy they are living walking distance to down town. Their back yard was a totally private forest. Again I was impressed.

    In 1979 Ken and Sandy were at our wedding and every time I use the steak knives I fondly think of them. They are still polished and show little effect of the passing years.

    By now Ken was my boss and he never told me but he provided me critical technical (programming) support and kept me out of trouble.

    Our paths have crossed many time during the past 40 years, my memories will last a lifetime.

    Eric and Jane Keyser

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  4. Apollonia Steele :

    Dear Sandy,
    My deepest condolences to you and all the family. Ken was such a special person. I remember some of those rollicking debates and great laughter. There are many memories to cherish.

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  5. Cliff and Marjoie Campbell :

    Hello Sandy and family
    We were sorry to hear of Ken’s passing.
    We wish that we could be there next Friday for the celebration of his life.
    Unfortunately Marjorie is currently fighting a battle with acute myeloid leukemia
    and she begins her first chemotheropy treatment on Friday the 29th.
    Marjorie and I send you our love and prayers. We will be making a donation to the Tom Baker Cancer Center in memory of Ken.

    Cliff and Marjorie Campbell

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  6. We have many fond memories of Ken. From cold ski trips to hot afternoons and evenings at the lake. Ken could brighten any room or gathering with a good joke and his infectious laugh.

    To Sandy, Aaron and Graeme, our family would like to express our sympathy for your loss and to let you know that our thoughts are with you.

    Jon, Joanne, Carter, Nicole & Jane White

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  7. Jack and Maude Soppit :

    The West family
    Sorry to get the news of Kens passing.
    We are thinking of you and your family at this time.
    We are not in Alberta at this time thus unfortunately will not be able to join you for the celebration of Kens life.
    But will remember his big grin and deep laugh.
    Our love to you and your family.
    Jack and Maude Soppit

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  8. Sandy, Aaron, Graeme and grand children of calgary. I give big thanks to Kens connection with nature. It was and still is inspiring for me. The spirit of a gentle walking stick moving through the fresh, mountain air. The spirit of the big, hairy dogs breathing with hearts beating. The spirit of a wild and windy Chinook and absolutley an infinite number of horses stampeding through the plains. And with grace and the message of letting go of all the suffering I give big thanks with open arms. The spirit of a tree growing and knowing Ken and his medicine. May we enjoy his spirit and learn and grow and feel deeply. I wish I could come but the money is not here for me right now. I am there in spirit with a song of love.

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  9. Stewart & Winnie Colburne :

    Sandy, Aaron and Graeme we are so sorry for your loss. We have many fond memories of time spent with you and Ken. The drive back and forth to Calgary gave us lots of time to dicuss the worlds problems and solve most of them , at least in our minds. At that time we had to stop at least once a week to buy flowers for our ladies on the way back to Bragg Creek.
    Some of the best memories from Bragg Creek are from our horse back rides into K country. Of course we always debated the relative merits of Apoloosa’s vs quarter horses and on more than one occasion tried to prove which was the fastest. I think it always ended in a draw. Then there was X-Country skiing where Ken gave me a lessons in going up hill which I have never forgot.
    Sandy, Aaron and Graeme, it was a priviledge to know and spend time with Ken. He had an impact on our lives.
    Winnie & Stu Colburne

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  10. Dear Sandy
    We are very sorry for your loss We heard about Ken when Anne phoned Lynda today.
    We very much enjoyed our visit to you last time we were in Canada, and shall remember
    Ken as he was, full of charm and wit.
    With love from Anne and Gillian.

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  11. Barbara & Clem Trenholm :

    Sandy and family, We are so sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. The time that we have spent together at work and play are fondly remembered.

    Thinking of you and your family at this sad time.

    Barbara & Clem

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  12. Paul J. Harvey :

    I now live in Nova Scotia and am retired (my home) but worked at Amoco in Calgary when Ken was our Chief Geophysicist; he was a great person, loved his people and will be missed. So glad he was able to enjoy years of retirement to do the things he loved! My condolences go to his family and may He be with you during your loss!

    Warmest thoughts be with you,
    Paul J. Harvey

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  13. Gordon & Linda Cain :

    Sandy, Aaron, Graeme

    Thank-you for sharing Ken with us. Linda and I both remember Ken’s significant contribution to our early working years, as we started our career in the oil industry with Amoco. In addition to the role he played in your family, his guidance, patience, and empathy, had significant influence in the “Amoco family” which we both remember fondly.

    Gordon and Linda

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  14. Jean and Robert Tener :

    Dear Sandy, We were so sorry to hear your sad news. We have great memories of you both and send you our love. Jean

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  15. Dear Sandy,
    I am a friend in a distant land, and have not been able to share much time – and yet I have closed you and Ken into my heart of hearts –
    I embrace you with sympathetic and warm thoughts –
    Josephine and John have shared with me all their visits to you in Bragg Creek.

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  16. So sorry to hear about Ken’s passing!

    It’s hard to believe that I met you both in early 1976 so I have decades of memories of Ken and your entire family. I think I’ll most remember Ken for his sense of humor and way of looking at things in the most positive light. And of course I admired not only the love he demonstrated for his family (especially those grandbabies) but his dedication to the dogs and horses in the West family over the years.

    Love Always!


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  17. Perry & Karen Kotkas :

    We were saddened to read of Ken’s passing. We recall the days ‘back when’ with the Won’s & you guys – great fun. Ken was a great guy, a professional and larger than life. I shall always remember the big smile & “the look”. We shall miss him. May you have many, many happy memories of Ken in your family.

    Perry & Karen
    (Sorry I cannot attend the service; out of town.)

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  18. I was previleged to know Ken for twenty five years when our paths crossed repeatedly in the profession. He was unassuming and always kind and helpful. He contributed to the profession as the Editor of CSEG Journal and in other capacities. He praised when the praise was due and encouraged more effort when that was required.
    Evelyn and I were very sorry to read the sad news and we hope than Sandy and the family will find consolation in the time they had with such a fine man.

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  19. Dear Sandy, Please accept my heartfelt condolences on Ken’s passing. He and I knew each other while both of us were with Amoco. He was truly one of my most respected colleagues and a good friend as well. Just being in his presence made one feel well.

    We met many years ago when Larry Lines and I visited you and Ken in your retirement home.


    Sven Treitel

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  20. Hugh and Marilyn Brown :

    We are so saddened to hear of Ken’s passing. I have great memories of working with Ken in Roy Krouse’s lab and of sharing our experiences on sampling trips in the mountains. Our condolences to you Sandy and your children.

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  21. Rhonda Workman :

    Dear Sandy and family: Ken was a wonderful man and will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor. He always made me laugh. He will be missed. I am thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

    Sincerely, Rhonda Workman

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  22. Pauline Willis :

    Dear Sandy,

    My thoughts are with you at this time, as they have been on other occasions since your retirement. I remember Ken’s good-natured laugh and his friendly attitude.

    My sincere condolences,
    Pauline Willis

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  23. Pam and Keith McCallum :

    Keith and I were saddened to hear about Ken. Neither of us knew him well, but we both have fond memories of our brief encounters. I remember his graciousness as a host, even when the house was filled with your women colleagues. Keith remembers having a conversation with Ken about a very old dog, one of your Norwegian elkhounds, I think. Most of all, Sandy, we are thinking of you and your family in this complicated, difficult time.

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  24. Sandy, I am very sorry to hear this sad news. Please know my thoughts are with you. We now live in the West Kootenays (most of the time) and so we will not be able to attend the celebration of Ken’s life. But we remember him fondly.

    Rod (and Frances)

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  25. Marion Krzywda & Fran Bielby :

    Sorry to hear about Ken. Our condolences go out to your family.
    What a beautiful write up about Ken—we learned more about
    his life & family.
    Marion Krzywda & Fran Bielby

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  26. Wayne Brideaux :

    I was saddened to learn of the passing of Ken West, a man who truly led in his career with Amoco Canada. I especially remember when we gathered in trepidation to learn about what might happen with the Dome takeover. Ken got up and started to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, a current Bobby McFerrin hit of the time. And we all laughed and lost our tension. That was Ken West in a nutshell. {Wayne Brideaux, formerly Amoco Technical Group].

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  27. Andy and Elizabeth Pap :

    Dear Sandy I am sorry I can not attend Ken’s service or memorial tomorrow, but I have health problems. Ken meant alot to me. He always helped me in my advancement, especially in the last year before my retirement. God Bless both of you…. Elizabeth and Andy Pap.

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  28. McCusker Family :

    Sandy, Aaron and Graeme

    Our deepest condolences go out to your family. I have fond memories of Ken at Crestar and the wonderful parties that you hosted. Ken will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Baya, Larry and Noelle McCusker

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  29. Dave McMordie :


    While I was sorry to hear the news of your Dad’s death, I was suddenly reminded of the all the wonderful times I spent visiting with you and your family in Bragg Creek, and of the big, joyful energy your father brought to all projects and interactions. The impression he left on me was that of a man whose intelligence and energy could at times be brought to focus just on having fun with his family and friends. I remember ATVs, RC cars, horses, archery, dandelion soup (?), endless adventures and a deep, hearty laugh. Your mother surely played a role in all of these great projects as well and I remember your family as joyful, adventurous, creative and united.

    I hope you and your mother and brother are doing well aside from this loss, and I would love to get back in touch.

    Dave McMordie

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  30. Harry Vandervlist :

    Having been enjoyably hosted by Ken and Sandy, I have really cheerful memories of a gathering at the Bragg Creek homestead. My thoughts are with the whole family as you mourn his loss.

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  31. Dear Sandy, we are very sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. We feel privileged to have known his company, his warmth and his knack for spotting comedy in the cosmos. May you and the boys find much comfort in memories of good years with him.
    Best from Elaine and Gary Park
    4748 Hotel Lake Road
    Garden Bay, BC.

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